This is the cheering news for the state: freight traffic at the Mormugao Port Trust, Vasco, grew 37 per cent in 2020-21 despite disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic, even as total freight traffic handled by 12 major ports in the country contracted 4.5 per cent during the year.
According to the performance report on major ports released by the Union ministry of shipping, freight traffic handled at the MPT was 219.5 lakh tonne during 2020-21 as against 160.2 lakh tonne in the previous year.
Petroleum (LPG and LNG), iron ore pellets, dry and mechanical bulk cargo comprised the bulk of the cargo handled at the port, says the report.
It said that all major ports – baring Paradip Port and MPT – saw their volumes dropping in 2020-21 due to the sudden halt in economic activity caused by the pandemic-induced lockdown.
The higher cargo traffic at the MPT appears to have occurred due to exports of e-auctioned ore and POL imports, although coal (a major commodity of the port) remained more or less steady in 2020-21 compared to the previous year.
On the other hand, the report mentions that MPT’s improvement in cargo handling was offset by declining operating efficiency as the port was the slowest in turning around vessels.
The Vasco port’s average turnaround time is as high as 75.9 hours per vessel vis-à-vis the national average of 55.3 hours per vessel.
Furthermore, in the case of operating efficiency measured by way of average output per ship, MPT’s average output was lower than peers with 12,472 tonne of cargo per ship, per berth as against the national average of 15,313 tonne per ship, per berth, says the report.
The performance of major ports in India is available for viewing on the Sagar Unnati website of the shipping ministry. It shows that total traffic of 12 major ports stood at 672.6 million tonne in 2020-21 compared to 704.8 million tonne in 2019-20, registering an annual decrease of 4.5 per cent.
The Deendayal port (Kandla) topped the list for 2020-21 handling total freight traffic of 117.5 million tonne, followed by Paradip port in Odisha (114.3 million tonne) and Vishakhapatnam port (69.8 million tonne).
Other major ports are: Kolkata Dock System, Haldia Dock Complex, Kamarajar Port in Tamil Nadu, Chennai Port, VO Chidambaranar, Cochin Port, New Mangalore Port, Mumbai Port and JNPT Port.
As per the Union shipping ministry, the MPT is the smallest major port in the country accounting for just three per cent of the all-India cargo traffic.
As per the ministry, the Mandovi and Zuari rivers are the two national waterways in the state used for transporting goods.
The Union ministry has set a total target of 2.7 lakh tonne of cargo in the two waterways of the state for the current year 2021-22.